Maybe it is the Italian in me that feels the need to make sure that my guests always eat.
Maybe it is because I see what a difference a healthy breakfast or lunch makes for a child’s
ability to learn, participate, and feel loved and appreciated.
Over the years, I have had charity paralysis, wanting to give to so many causes that I only give a little
to each one and move on. Each time I wish I could do more but I haven’t found one to commit to yet.
That was until I read about the Second Harvest Kids Cafe and Backpack Program. I had always wondered
what children did in the summer time or holidays when they were used to getting their meals at school.
I started doing some research and found out about this program, run by David Brown of Second Harvest
and called him up on the phone. We chatted for a long while about the importance of contributing to this
program, especially as we see that funding cuts to government assistance are in our state’s near future and
many more children in our own city will be plagued by hunger. We can get super frustrated about politics,
lack of employment or educational opportunities, but that isn’t the point of this program which is why I like
it so much. The point is to feed the children. Keep them eating regularly so that they can be encouraged to
grow up and learn in our schools, participate in our communities, and make their own choices when they are
One of the first questions that I asked David was what kind of food goes in the back pack? I didn’t want to raise
awareness or money for a program who hands off a bag of junk food and soda as calories and in exchange is
really handing that family a recipe for mal-nutition, dehydration and potentially diabetes. David assured me
that this program puts actual food, protein and veggies not pop tarts and soda, so that they can maintain an
example of a balanced diet for the children and their families. Some examples are canned vegetables, canned
tuna and chicken, soups, canned fruit, fresh fruit when available, granola bars, and peanut butter to those who
do not present an allergy. David said they do throw in a treat and try to make the back packs different every few weeks
For the entire month of June, we want to raise awareness of the 49,261 children living at or below the poverty level in Mecklenburg County.
This represents 21% of the child population.
We want to raise money for the program so that it can better serve it’s 24 Backpack Programs in Mecklenburg County. Ten of the programs are located at Kids Café sites. The other programs are located at Highland Renaissance Academy, Winterfield Elementary, Walter G. Byers Elementary, Thomasboro Elementary, Rama Road Elementary, Devonshire Elementary, Mallard Creek Elementary, Druid Hills Elementary, Sterling Elementary, Collinswood Elementary, Cotswald Elementary, Albemarle Road Elementary, J.H. Gunn Elementary and Windsor Park Elementary.
Raising funds allows the program to make consistent choices for the food served, as well as increase the number of children served and the quality and variety of the food.
It is our goal to stick with this charity, to eventually see age appropriate books added to backpacks, to feed their minds as well as their bellies, and to one day be able
to fund a mobile farmer’s market (think of an ice cream truck that sells fresh fruits and veggies cheaply to the residents of the affected communities).
While our goals might seem lofty to some, we want to take it one backpack at a time. Sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook so that you can become informed
of the dates of specialty “lunch box” sessions, and rewards for new and existing clients who help support this worthy cause.
We are getting started on Monday, so stay tuned and please spread the word!